Sunday, 20 January 2008
Images in London
One of the story proposals I was thinking about while preparing the interview to be able to do this course, is exactly the same as Darren Almond's work "Fire under Snow" at Parasol Unit in London. Men harvesting sulphur from inside the crater of a volcano called Kawah Ijen in Java and breathing in the acid smoke. After breaking up the mineral they carry the chunks over the crater rim and down to the weighting station in two baskets slung from a pole balanced on one shoulder.
This is definitely not the first time this appalling job has been exposed to a wider audience. Tourist like myself have often been here and there are films on YouTube, but it is still shocking, overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. As soon as the photographer stops recording, the workers will turn around and walk up and down the volcano again. The images have no comment and don't tell us what to think or feel about the injustices of the world.
There is a second installation on the show called "In the Between" about Buddhist monks chanting in the oldest monastery in Lhasa together with images of the new fast train speeding across the plains of Tibet. These images point out the importance of ambivalence and ambiguity in creative works when recording the complexity of being in the world. Sometimes the photographer intend one thing and end up with another.